I’m 360km east of Mumbai at a collection of shimmering Buddhist caves halfway up a cliff on the Deccan plateau. Sweat stings my eyes as I trudge a path of searing concrete around a secluded horseshoe gorge.
The faint gurgling of the river below makes me thirsty: groups of students a vision of cool, their bright sari's somehow surreal. At each cave I take off my boots, explore the semi-darkness and drink in cool musty air; outside it's the furnace of the gorge once more. It's 3pm and hotter than ever.
There's yet another group of students, and I wonder how I must smell...and if they would find a tour group anywhere as interesting as me.
I'm the oddity here, dark eyes watching at every turn, me quite the sight in soggy, sweat-drenched shirt, dusty shorts, bandanna and boots.
Photo: All about Me - Ajanta Caves, Aurangabad, Maharashtra, India _ Vyacheslav Argenbe rg